Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

A Listing of Biblical References to Healing That May Be Useful as Bibliotherapy to the Empowerment of Rehabilitation Clients

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

A Listing of Biblical References to Healing That May Be Useful as Bibliotherapy to the Empowerment of Rehabilitation Clients

Article excerpt

Spirituality has become an important influence in the lives of many Americans. There has been an awakening of late that has filtered through the media and popular literature that encourages us to take advantage of forces that are beyond our own immediate control. There has been a flow of documentary case studies in the media that reflect the power of faith in an ultimate supreme being who provides help in the healing of our physical and psychological distress. News presentations in television and in periodicals are telling stories of people who have experienced healing in ways that don't follow an exclusively medical approach. Many cases of healing occur in conjunction with medical services where the patient has seen the importance of their whole being in the process of healing.

Belief in an ultimate rescuer is a mechanism for defense against the anxiety created by the awareness of death according to existential thinking (Yalom, 1981). Another defense is the belief in personal inviolability or immortality. Although these beliefs may be considered irrational they may be effective in reducing anxiety regarding illness and the ultimate concern of death. Persons with disabilities who hold to faith in God may find benefit from these beliefs in their adjustment to their disability and in the managing of ill effects associated with disability. These beliefs may be helpful if they are not displayed in a passivity or dependence that removes the individual entirely from the process of rehabilitation. If the belief in an ultimate rescuer can be sustained there may be more opportunity for sustained adaptation to the circumstances of disability. The holistic principle of Gestalt theory (Perls, 1969) suggests that the organism strives for balance. The body, mind, and soul are all considered to be parts of the whole organism. They act in an interdependent way to create balance for the person. Our emotions have thinking, feeling, and acting aspects, all of which contribute together to the wholeness of the person. Acting includes the physiological component of the organism and depends on the thinking and feeling aspects. Perls (1969) rejected the idea of the duality of body and mind, body and soul, thinking and feeling, thinking and action, and feeling and action.

In addition to existential and holistic thinking, the concept of empowerment provides some basis for providing the client, family, and service provider further resources to enhancing the rehabilitation of persons with chronic illness associated with disability. Emener (1991) describes empowerment as a mind set. Unless the individual in need of rehabilitation believes in their own empowerment beyond that of the empowerment of the agency, facility, professional worker, and family, little effect will take place. Empowerment must come internally as well as externally according to Emener (1991). A source of power may come through prayer. In an article written by Woodward, Springen, Gordon, Glick, Talbot, Fisher, Miller and Lewis (1992) in Newsweek the consciousness of the potential power of prayer is described within the contexts of individuals, family and religious organization. Prayer and religious activity are becoming more a part of the behavior of a cross section of individuals. Survey data suggests a large portion of us pray (91% of women and 85% of men), many with a deep sense of peace (32%) and a sense of the strong presence of God (26%). Answers to prayers may be perceived less often with 15% receiving a definite answer to a specific prayer, 27% never having received an answer, and 25% only once or twice. Increased faith in God and the action of prayer may provide additional resources for persons with disability who experience associated chronic illness.

The power of prayer has received attention by researchers who are interested in its interaction with human needs ranging from acquiring a sense of well being to the relief of physical symptoms (Poloma & Pendleton, 1991; Bearon and Koenig, 1990; Mitchell, 1989). …

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